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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Firmly Placed In The Continuum Of Mesopotamian History
I had wondered as I opened this book whether I was going to meet an author of the chariot of the gods school. I need not have feared because Stephanie Dalley's vast experience is rooted firmly in Assyriology. The mystery of the Hanging Gardens is explored from the historical accounts, contemporary practice, contemporary evidence and an assessment of the status of Nineveh...
Published 8 months ago by Charles Vasey

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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Exhaustive
Exhaustive and exhausting. Stephanie Dalley leaves nothing unsaid about the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. I cant imagine there is anything left to say. She must have put the large part of a lifetimes research into this book.But it is astonishing to think that the Assyrians had acheived so much in architecture, metallurgy and warfare so many centuries before classical Greece...
Published 8 months ago by pscoptera


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent synthesis and reinterpretation of age-old mystery, 22 Aug 2013
By 
Feanor (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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Traditionally, of the seven wonders of the ancient world, the only one supposedly never properly identified has been the Hanging Garden of Babylon. Although considerable evidence has existed to solve the puzzle, different experts have at different times discounted many of them. In this book, the extant evidence is reinterpreted in light of the latest understanding of the history and technological achievements of the Mesopotamians, and a rather convincing case made for the Gardens to be Assyrian, rather than Babylonian. Exactly how this identification has been made is well illustrated, with wide-ranging asides on related topics that serve to illustrate the lives, habits and cultural high-points of the Great Kings. Very well worth the read if you are interested in Assyrian and Babylonian history, and how these cultures have been perceived by outsiders.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Firmly Placed In The Continuum Of Mesopotamian History, 3 Aug 2013
By 
Charles Vasey (London, England) - See all my reviews
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I had wondered as I opened this book whether I was going to meet an author of the chariot of the gods school. I need not have feared because Stephanie Dalley's vast experience is rooted firmly in Assyriology. The mystery of the Hanging Gardens is explored from the historical accounts, contemporary practice, contemporary evidence and an assessment of the status of Nineveh from Assyria to the Sassanids. Although the Hanging Gardens are the reason for the book this is a welcome excuse to revisit the remarkable agricultural and religious world that lived between the two rivers. I shall not give away the author's solution to the mystery because the journey is as enjoyable as the destination.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Controversey of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, 10 Jan 2014
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Very interesting piece of ancient Mesapotamian history which we often forget in favour of history of the Nile civilization much of which followed a melenia after Mesapotamia. Dr.Dalley writes a very interesting book which has been followed by a program on television. She is obviously a very well informed Assyriologist and obviously loves that part of what is today the North of Iraq. However her conclusion that the Gardens were in Nineva and not Babylon is based on her conclusion that there is no evidence of the Hanging Gardens being in Babylon. The German Archiologist Robert Koldeway, in 1899 dug the various sites at Babylon for nearly fourteen years and unerthed many of its features including those reported by Diodorus. Among these was what appeared to him to be the cellar of the gardens including a room with three large holes in the floor. From which Koldeway concluded that this had been the location of the chain pumps that raised the water to the top of the gardens from where irrigation water would flow by gravity. The source of water would have been either a small farm channel from the Euphrates which flowed through Babylon or alternatively, if the three shafts were deep enough , from seepage from the river. The flow required to irrigate an area of 1.5 ha, which is the area given by Dr. Dalley for the Nineva gardens would require no more than a continious flow of three liters a second to deliver a water daily requirement of about 90 cubic meters in the summer months in the central climatic zone of Iraq, where Babylon is located. I found Dr. Dalley's information about the very advanced state of water management established by the assyrian king Senacharib very interesting, where she demonstrates that the inclined water lifting devices using helical shaftes (similar to present day archemedian screw pumps) was actually used by the Mesapotamians at least four centuries before the birth of the Greek Archamides. The fact that Alexanders legions would have camped by the Jerwan aquaduct (which used arched supports the like of which the greek homland would not have seen for several centuries to come) prior to the very decisive battle of Gogomela (where Darius iii, of persia was defeated and Alexanders armies progressed to the Nile, Babylon, Persia and the Indus) on the plains of Arbil is a very interesting point which further shows the historical importance of Mesapotamia, However I see no reason why there could not have been two such gardens (about 150 years apart), one in Nineva, built by Senecharib, and the second in Babylon, built by the Neo Babylonian Nebukadnezzar. As for there not being any evidence of the Gardens being in Babylon, there is apparently a report that they were destroyed by an earthquake in the second century BCE.
Be it as it may, I am sure the controversey raised by this book may continue for a long time to come.
Nejdet Al-Salihi (a Mesapotamian and an irrigation engineer).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent research, though probably not for the layman., 19 Sep 2013
By 
Paul Fillery (Worcester, UK) - See all my reviews
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Of all the traditional "Seven Wonders", the Hanging Gardens of Babylon have always been the most elusive. Some historians have even gone so far as to suggest they were purely mythical. No archaeological evidence for them has ever been discovered, and on a practical level the location and climate of the area would make gardens such as these an almost impossible undertaking (but then, so were the pyramids at Giza). This book, from an expert in Babylon and Assyria, is a quest to find the true location of the Hanging Gardens - and very convincing it is, too. Other reviewers have outlined the main theory in her book (spoilers?), but all I will say is that I am completely convinced by her arguments and conclusions. Perhaps we should now look to re-name the Hanging Gardens.

The book is fascinating for anyone with a serious interest in the pre-classical and classical history of the Near East, but the laymen may struggle with the large number if unusual Babylonian and Assyrian names which would not be very familiar to most people (for example, how many people have heard of Nineveh, one of the greatest cities of the ancient world?). There is also a lot of detailed discussion of cuneiform inscriptions and their translations (or mis-translations). For scholars of ancient history, though, this is an excellent book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thorough, fascinating and mostly convincing, 14 Aug 2013
By 
J. A. Eyers "jaeyers" (UK) - See all my reviews
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Despite being accepted as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon have been written off by many historians as legendary due to the inconsistent nature in which they are accounted for in contemporary sources. Some sources describe a manmade pyramid with plants and trees apparently rooted in towering stone terraces. Other sources make no mention of any garden at all. Unlike the Pyramids at Giza, there remains no trace of them ever existing.

In this short but fascinating book Stephanie Dalley makes a thorough and mostly convincing argument that explains why the Hanging Gardens cropped up in some sources but not in others - they weren't actually in Babylon, but Nineveh. By cross-referencing references from Greek and Roman texts with ancient cuneiform inscriptions on weathered clay tablets found in what is now Iraq - and always with a sceptical eye - she puts forward a good case as to how various European travellers in the 7th century BC could believe they were all writing about the same place, despite being several hundred miles apart.

This book isn't just about pinpointing the true location of the Hanging Gardens, however. Dalley also counters the arguments of historians who claim the Gardens had to be mythical because their construction were beyond the capabilities of the age, specifically with regard to raising water to keep the plants and trees irrigated. After all, Archimedes didn't invent his screw until centuries later. Dalley presents what she argues is evidence that the concept had already been in practical use for a long time.

This is academic history enlivened by Dalley's obvious passion for the subject. She first posited her theory decades ago, and has clearly spent a lot of time since constructing such a watertight, comprehensive argument.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Hanging Gardens of Babylon, 10 Feb 2014
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An excellent book!

Excellent research carried out for this book which changes our perspective on the location of one of the Wonders of the World
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5.0 out of 5 stars Marvellous research, 28 Jan 2014
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Ms. D. M. Neale "Dizzie Di" (Rochester, Kent) - See all my reviews
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I saw the programme about this on Channel 4 and told my old German friend about it, who I know is very interested in the archaeology of the Middle East. Then passed it on as a Christmas present and am sure it will be very well received by my friend.
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4.0 out of 5 stars hanging gardens, 31 Dec 2013
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This review is from: The Mystery of the Hanging Garden of Babylon: An Elusive World Wonder Traced (Kindle Edition)
not quite what i expected but i did enjoy reading it.i have since seen the tv program and this helped to put faces and places to the book which made for a better picture of the whole thing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great read!, 27 Nov 2013
Love the story, the depth of research and outcome. Fun to think that this all started at a lecture many years ago, when a student/attendee asks a simple question. Highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Engagingly written and impeccably argued, 27 Nov 2013
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If you have any kind of interest in the classics or ancient engineering, this account will be a great read. It clears up the inconsistencies and cogently argues for a new interpretation of the great mystery of the Seven Wonders.
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